Hampton Classic: Beauty Queens Reign

Hunters were featured in Sunday’s main event, the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby
There were 42 entries in the opening day’s main event, the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby, a class in which the horses’ style of going was the main criterion. Durell Godfrey

   The weather was fine for the opening day of the Hampton Classic Horse Show, a day devoted largely to Long Island riders of all ages, and the trainers were at the fences, looking concerned and tossing out bits of advice as their charges and their mounts wove around the courses.
    One proud and somewhat nervous father, Mike Lupica, the sportswriter, columnist, and author of young-adult books, was spotted early at the edge of the second hunter ring.
    “It’s really my wife [Taylor] who’s been doing the heavy lifting — I know nothing about riding,” he readily admitted as the Lupicas’ 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, waited on her horse Lord Stanley in the schooling ring for their turn to go in Children’s Equitation High/Fences Section A.
    Hannah, who has three older brothers, all of whom went to the East Hampton Sports Camp and were counselors there, started riding at the Wolffer Estate stables when she was 6, has been at it ever since, and has been doing well; she was the Best Child Rider at a show earlier this summer in Manchester, Vt.
    When this writer observed that her father must be doing well to support her in her chosen sport, Lupica said, “That’s why I’m writing two books a year.”
    “There’s a lot of pressure on me to do one about riding,” he added. “Maybe Hannah will write it and get top billing. ‘With Mike Lupica’ will be in small print.”
    “At least there’s a lot of talent on display here — not like in the Artists and Writers Game,” he said in parting, after which, with a hand over his eyes, he began anxiously to scan the entrance gate for signs of Lord Stanley and his daughter, who were to finish second in the two equitation classes they entered that day.
    Another familiar face, that of Christine de Leyer, whose 86-year-old father-in-law, Harry, is to be featured in an HBO documentary on his famous jumper, Snowman, in January, was seen a bit later, urging one of her students, Katherine Wallace, to “squeeze, squeeze” after Munchkinland refused at the first fence in a local junior hunter class.
    “He’s going now,” de Leyer said with satisfaction after Wallace and Munch­kinland circled back to try again. “It’s good to see she didn’t give up,” she said.
    Hunters, “the beauty queens,” in the press officer Violet Forbes’s words, were featured in Sunday’s main event, the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby in the Grand Prix ring.
    There were 42 entries in the two-round hunt-type course — Darragh Ken­ny, a 25-year-old native of Ireland who placed third in the Grand Prix in 2010, rode five — but a child, 14-year-old Victoria Press of New York City, whose super smooth ride early on aboard Mayfair almost went unnoticed by media types who were more focused at the time on a catered lunch in the Longines tent, led them.
    Following her victory, which earned her $15,000, Press said, “He was so smooth — it was just so easy to gallop around on him.”
    A high school sophomore, Press is no newcomer to the Classic: She’s been showing there since she was the short-stirrup champion with Irish Rain at the age of 6.
    O’Ryan, ridden by Kenny, was second, worth $10,000, and Ennzo and Molly Ashe-Cawley (last year’s third-place finisher in the Grand Prix) were third, earning $7,500. Ennzo won this class in 2012, its inaugural year.
    In other action, Savannah, owned by Patricia Raynes and ridden by Ashley Raynes, was the Grand Local Hunter champion, and Worthy, owned and ridden by Taylor Sassa, claimed The Chronicle of the Horse Local Hunter championship for nonprofessional riders.
    Scarlett James won the Leadline 5-to-7-year-old class, and Cady Ryan won the Leadline 2-4 class. Both those classes were judged by Joe Fargis, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, and, at 65, arguably the eldest competitor this week.
    One of the blue ribbons handed out Sunday went to Stony Hill Stables’ Dylan Murphy, who rode Sweet William, owned by Olivia Golden, to the winner’s circle in Child Equitation Low/Flat Section B.
    “There were 30 in the class, which is for riders under the age of 18,” said Aisha Ali, Murphy’s trainer. “Her win was a big deal for Stony Hill, this show is so prestigious. It’s my fourth year here and every time we ride under the Hampton Classic banner early in the morning of the first day I tear up. It’s a great feeling.”
    Stony Hill, which is in Amagansett, and which continues to expand its scholarship offerings to children here who might not otherwise ride, took 17 competitors to the Classic this year, “the biggest number ever,” said Ali, “by far.”
    Dylan, who’s 12, also won a blue ribbon at the recent Topping Riding Club show in Sagaponack. She’s an all-around athlete, but likes riding best.
    Since May, Stony Hill has been using a new Classic-size ring with “cutting-edge footing” to better prepare its riders and horses, said Ali.
    A stablemate of Dylan’s, 16-year-old Johana Zwerner, who placed fourth in the aforementioned class, has been working at Stony Hill, in addition to riding. “There’s a lot of preparation involved — I can tack up a horse now, and I’m learning how to care for one the year round,” she said with no little satisfaction.
    Among other local riders who did well in Sunday’s hunter classes were Sue Marder-O’Connor, Anne Byers, Laura Bowery-Falco, Jagger Topping, and Gretchen Topping.By Jack Graves
    The weather was fine for the opening day of the Hampton Classic Horse Show, a day devoted largely to Long Island riders of all ages, and the trainers were at the fences, looking concerned and tossing out bits of advice as their charges and their mounts wove around the courses.
    One proud and somewhat nervous father, Mike Lupica, the sportswriter, columnist, and author of young-adult books, was spotted early at the edge of the second hunter ring.
    “It’s really my wife [Taylor] who’s been doing the heavy lifting — I know nothing about riding,” he readily admitted as the Lupicas’ 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, waited on her horse Lord Stanley in the schooling ring for their turn to go in Children’s Equitation High/Fences Section A.
    Hannah, who has three older brothers, all of whom went to the East Hampton Sports Camp and were counselors there, started riding at the Wolffer Estate stables when she was 6, has been at it ever since, and has been doing well; she was the Best Child Rider at a show earlier this summer in Manchester, Vt.
    When this writer observed that her father must be doing well to support her in her chosen sport, Lupica said, “That’s why I’m writing two books a year.”
    “There’s a lot of pressure on me to do one about riding,” he added. “Maybe Hannah will write it and get top billing. ‘With Mike Lupica’ will be in small print.”
    “At least there’s a lot of talent on display here — not like in the Artists and Writers Game,” he said in parting, after which, with a hand over his eyes, he began anxiously to scan the entrance gate for signs of Lord Stanley and his daughter, who were to finish second in the two equitation classes they entered that day.
    Another familiar face, that of Christine de Leyer, whose 86-year-old father-in-law, Harry, is to be featured in an HBO documentary on his famous jumper, Snowman, in January, was seen a bit later, urging one of her students, Katherine Wallace, to “squeeze, squeeze” after Munchkinland refused at the first fence in a local junior hunter class.
    “He’s going now,” de Leyer said with satisfaction after Wallace and Munch­kinland circled back to try again. “It’s good to see she didn’t give up,” she said.
    Hunters, “the beauty queens,” in the press officer Violet Forbes’s words, were featured in Sunday’s main event, the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby in the Grand Prix ring.
    There were 42 entries in the two-round hunt-type course — Darragh Ken­ny, a 25-year-old native of Ireland who placed third in the Grand Prix in 2010, rode five — but a child, 14-year-old Victoria Press of New York City, whose super smooth ride early on aboard Mayfair almost went unnoticed by media types who were more focused at the time on a catered lunch in the Longines tent, led them.
    Following her victory, which earned her $15,000, Press said, “He was so smooth — it was just so easy to gallop around on him.”
    A high school sophomore, Press is no newcomer to the Classic: She’s been showing there since she was the short-stirrup champion with Irish Rain at the age of 6.
    O’Ryan, ridden by Kenny, was second, worth $10,000, and Ennzo and Molly Ashe-Cawley (last year’s third-place finisher in the Grand Prix) were third, earning $7,500. Ennzo won this class in 2012, its inaugural year.
    In other action, Savannah, owned by Patricia Raynes and ridden by Ashley Raynes, was the Grand Local Hunter champion, and Worthy, owned and ridden by Taylor Sassa, claimed The Chronicle of the Horse Local Hunter championship for nonprofessional riders.
    Scarlett James won the Leadline 5-to-7-year-old class, and Cady Ryan won the Leadline 2-4 class. Both those classes were judged by Joe Fargis, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, and, at 65, arguably the eldest competitor this week.
    One of the blue ribbons handed out Sunday went to Stony Hill Stables’ Dylan Murphy, who rode Sweet William, owned by Olivia Golden, to the winner’s circle in Child Equitation Low/Flat Section B.
    “There were 30 in the class, which is for riders under the age of 18,” said Aisha Ali, Murphy’s trainer. “Her win was a big deal for Stony Hill, this show is so prestigious. It’s my fourth year here and every time we ride under the Hampton Classic banner early in the morning of the first day I tear up. It’s a great feeling.”
    Stony Hill, which is in Amagansett, and which continues to expand its scholarship offerings to children here who might not otherwise ride, took 17 competitors to the Classic this year, “the biggest number ever,” said Ali, “by far.”
    Dylan, who’s 12, also won a blue ribbon at the recent Topping Riding Club show in Sagaponack. She’s an all-around athlete, but likes riding best.
    Since May, Stony Hill has been using a new Classic-size ring with “cutting-edge footing” to better prepare its riders and horses, said Ali.
    A stablemate of Dylan’s, 16-year-old Johana Zwerner, who placed fourth in the aforementioned class, has been working at Stony Hill, in addition to riding. “There’s a lot of preparation involved — I can tack up a horse now, and I’m learning how to care for one the year round,” she said with no little satisfaction.
    Among other local riders who did well in Sunday’s hunter classes were Sue Marder-O’Connor, Anne Byers, Laura Bowery-Falco, Jagger Topping, and Gretchen Topping.


<